Thursday, June 28, 2012

Open hand down thread

7:10: Here it is: it is upheld!

7:07:  The Court shortly will hand down First American Financial, and then the health care cases (unless Roberts has First American, too).

7:05:  Scalia, Alito, and Thomas dissent in Alvarez.

7:02:  The first opinion of the day is down. It is Alvarez. Kennedy has the opinion, but it is only a plurality. Ninth Circuit is affirmed, meaning the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional as written. 

7:01:  They are now in the courtroom.

6:57:  Another very interesting question is whether, if they uphold the Medicaid expansion, they decide to kill the "coercion doctrine" altogether, which they have mentioned on a couple of occasions but never actually enforced.

6:55:  If they invalidate the mandate, it is fairly predictable what the opinion will look like. They have no incentive to write more broadly than necessary. But it is not clear at all what an opinion upholding the mandate would look like. I hazarded a guess a few days ago, but that was just a stab.

6:45:  We are still 15 minutes form the justices entering the courtroom. My gut tells me that, if I had to pick, they will invalidate the mandate but find it (or it, guarantee issue, and community rating) severable, and then uphold the Medicaid expansion. But I've been wrong so many times in the last two years that it is not worth putting any stock in my sense at all. Regardless, I'm pretty confident that the Chief Justice will be writing the principal opinion.